GOD ALONE IS REAL
by Hari Prasad Shastri
From Self-Knowledge Autumn 1974
Adhyatma Yoga asserts that God alone is real. By this is meant that God is not an idea, an abstraction supplied by reason, a hypothesis assumed in logic to account for the creation of the universe.
People who say: "Prove the existence of God", assume that He is a convenient hypothesis postulated by religious people. If God were such a hypothesis He would be no God, merely another mental hallucination. How can the existence of God be proved? Both 'existence' and 'proof' are mental concepts and a part of His creation. He transcends the creation and makes 'existence' and 'proof' possible. Kant showed that all proofs of the existence of God are fallacious, and so in his Critique of Pure Reason he came to the conclusion that philosophy led to scepticism and agnosticism. In his later work, the Critique of Practical Reason, he showed that ethics is a priori and that the existence of God and the immortality of the soul do not require to be, and cannot be, established by logic.
God is reality, not an idea. He is all, and is most easily realized in His fullest and essential nature in the personality (buddhi) of man. He is so obvious that He is invisible to most people, just as light is the most obvious thing but is not perceived. "He is nearer to thee than the jugular vein", says Swami Rama Tirtha, quoting the Koran. He is experienced by all as Sat (existence) and Chit (consciousness), but His Ananda (bliss) aspect is veiled until He is intuitively experienced once and for all in the heart of man.
He is the real Self of each and everybody. How can this be? Just as in a dream a man is self conscious and experiences meeting with friends, fighting tigers, falling into pits, and so forth, but when he wakes up he realizes his Self has been clouded over by these unreal experiences, so also a man 'wakes up' from experiencing the world to a far different state of consciousness, indescribable by worldly symbols and images, to discover that he is the Self of all, who has been dreaming the world. The dream may continue but it no longer has any power over the dreamer, who knows himself to be master of it and unaffected by it.